This past December I did a trip to the Big Island in the Hawaiian Islands. It wasn't a birding trip, but I still managed to fit in lots of birding! I'll do a few posts on the birds I saw in different categories. First up: wetland, shore and ocean birds.

The wetlands of Hawaii are home to many birds. Some are introduced, some are visitors from mainland continents, and others are birds that evolved from mainland species and are now completely different species or subspecies.

Cattle Egrets
The Cattle Egret is an introduced bird that is now very common in Hawaii. It was introduced from Florida in 1959 to control insect pests. I got this shot at the Kona Wastewater Treatment Plant:


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Hawaiian Coot or 'Alae Ke'oke'o
The Hawaiian Coot was formally considered a subspecies of the American Coot, but it was split into another species only found in the Hawaiian islands. The Hawaiian Coot is endangered but is fairly easy to see at many locations including Aimakapa Pond where I took this photo. The hawaiian name for the Hawaiian Coot is 'Alae Ke'oke'o.


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Black-crowned Night Heron or 'Auku'u
The Black-crowned Night-Heron has evolved its own race on the Hawaiian Islands found nowhere else in the world. This race is very similar to the mainland North American race however, so the Hawaiian Black-crowned Night-Herons are only considered a subspecies currently. The hawaiian name for the Black-crowned Night-Heron is 'Auku'u. This photo was taken at Aimakapa Pond.


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Black-necked Stilt or Ae'o
The Black-necked Stilts in Hawaii are a subspecies of the birds found in mainland North America. The noticeable difference is that the black on the back of their necks extends further in towards their front than mainland birds. They are endangered in Hawaii and not as easily found as other native wetland birds, but still not very hard to find. The hawaiian name for the Black-necked Stilt is Ae'o.


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Other wetland birds I saw (and photographed) were Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Bufflehead.


Next: shorebirds. Many species of shorebirds winter or migrate through Hawaii. Some are very rarely seen and others are very common! For example, if you missed out on the Pacific Golden-Plovers at Boundary Bay this past summer (like I did), Hawaii is the place to go! In Hawaii some shorebirds like Pacific Golden-Plovers can be seen anywhere from the busy city beaches to hotel parking lots.


Pacific Golden-Plover
Probably the most common shorebird in Hawaii, the Pacific Golden-Plover, is hard to miss. They are mainly a winter visitor to Hawaii but some birds oversummer instead of migrating to their arctic breeding grounds. These summering birds rarely go into breeding plumage, however.


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Ruddy Turnstone
Another fairly common shorebird in Hawaii is the Ruddy Turnstone. These guys are not a rare sight on many rocky beaches, even around the cities.


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Wandering Tattler
The Wandering Tattler is also not a rare sight, but I found they did not show up as much near busy beaches, more at the quiet ones. I was lucky when this guy posed for me in beautiful light close to Aimakapa Pond, close to a Green Sea Turtle that was up on the beach.


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Sanderling
I found Sanderlings to be less common the shorebirds mentioned above, but I still saw a good number of them in certain places.


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Lastly, (for this post) ocean birds. I didn't do too will with this category of birds on this trip, getting only White-tailed Tropicbird (2 kilometers away so terrible ID shots), Great Frigatebird (didn't have my camera with me, of course), Brown Booby, and Laughing Gull. The latter two I did manage to get some decent shots of, so I will post them now:

Brown Booby
The Brown Booby is an uncommon seabird that can be seen from the shores of the islands. One morning, I was treated to this bird as it flew by the rocky shore:


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Laughing Gull
Gulls are surprisingly almost completely absent in Hawaii. In fact, they are a rare sight on all the islands. One of the gulls seen the most (but still not often) is the Laughing Gull, and I saw one flying around the Kona Wastewater Treatment Plant.


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Thanks for looking! :)